His Infinite Love

WILLIAM LEWIS

IT Application Systems Engineer
Devotional given on 16 Mar 2021 at BYUI

How do you feel God’s love—his “infinite love”? How can you show Christ-like love?

Thank you for the introduction, prayers, scripture reading, and beautiful music.
 
I humbly pray for the Spirit to be with us today.
 
As I was studying for this talk, the thought came to me to look at the scriptures in a new way by reflecting upon how God is sending us His love through His words and example. It is like the light of the sun that shines on everything, everywhere. If we do not feel His love it is usually because we are not letting it into our lives.
 
I was not always an active participant in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When I was 20, I met someone that helped me see what I was missing in my life.
 
There was a girl who drove by my apartment every day and she always smiled, waved, and honked when she saw me outside. One day, my friend and I were out riding our motorcycles when we spied her and a friend sitting in her car talking to some guys. Eager to finally meet her, I edged my bike between their cars and asked if she wanted to go for a ride. She said yes. Her name was Sally and we became fast friends, spending every hour we could together talking. I had just graduated from college and had worked summers as a river guide. One day I was driving shuttle for a river trip and I asked her to join me. After unloading the boat, guide, and guests, we jumped into the van to head back, but the van would not start. I was worried and after several attempts I ran the battery down. Sally suggested that we pray. I had never prayed in my life. We knelt on the floor of the van; she offered a simple prayer asking God to bless the van so it would start. Then she requested that He witness to me that He was there and that He loved me. As I started to pray, immediately, a warmth filled my entire body and I began to cry. What was this beautiful feeling? It was then that I knew that God loved me! I reached over, turned the key, and the van started. This was my first experience with feeling His infinite love but certainly not my last. As a river guide, I had developed a love for the outdoors, but with God I appreciated these gifts even more and continued developing additional outdoor hobbies.
 
Some things I still enjoy to this day.
 
I feel His peace and love every time I share it with others.
 
As I was introduced to God’s love, Sally and her mother told me how important it was for me to tell my mother that I loved her and strongly encouraged me to do so. This was cause for serious reflection to me. I finally worked up the courage to tell her. It was a beautiful experience that took us both by surprise.
 
I love my mom and I encourage all of you to tell your mother that you love her. It is interesting how those three words have changed the dynamics of our family.
 
My talk today is on His infinite love.
 
What does His infinite love look and feel like?
 
The Oxford Dictionary says that infinite means “limitless or endless in space, extent, or size; impossible to measure or calculate.”
 
So, with that, it is impossible to measure or calculate God’s love.
 
The closest thing I could relate to His love was when our four children were born. The love that welled up in me was hard to describe. I was excited to come home every night, to hold them and study their every movement. I did not know what love could become.
 
Eventually a new level of love came when we started receiving grandchildren.
 
We have 13 currently, with one on the way.
 
The love I feel for them is beyond description and reached a greater level that I did not know was possible. These sweet little cherubs fresh from God’s love just melts their grandparents’ hearts with hugs and kisses, forgiveness, funny insights, and excitement on how they think the world works and looks to them. They are such a great joy to us.
 
In Matthew 18:1–5, Jesus was speaking with His apostles and they asked,
 
Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
 
And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
 
And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
 
Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
 
And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. [1]
 
Our Father in Heaven has such infinite love for us.
 
He loves His children. Every one of us, we are all so very important to Him.
 
He provides or blesses us in countless ways. Some come freely and others we qualify for through obedience.
 
We have the Light of Christ. It is infinite in scope and reach. It is a gift to us all. It is continually around us. It is always available to us, whether we want it or not.
 
God blessed us with this home called earth. The human being is so fragile. Think about what needs to be in place just to support life. The earth relative to the sun, its rotation, an atmosphere, water, plant and animal life, a tabernacle for our spirit, develop families, gain experiences, obtain knowledge along with so many other blessings.
 
He provided a plan for us with a Savior.
 
In last week’s devotional address Sister Cristina B. Franco stated, "I can’t think of anything that brings more joy and happiness to our lives than knowing we have a Father in Heaven, who loves us and knows us personally, who created a perfect plan of salvation, also called the plan of happiness, making His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, central to His plan so that we can return to live with them once again.” [2]
 
Elder David A. Bednar in an October 2011 Ensign article titled “Lehi’s Dream: Holding Fast to the Rod” said:
 
The central feature in Lehi’s dream is the tree of life—a representation of “the love of God” (see Nephi 11:21–22). “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Thus, the birth, life, and atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ are the greatest manifestations of God’s love for His children. As Nephi testified, this love is “most desirable above all things” and, as the angel in his vision declared, “most joyous to the soul” (1 Nephi 11:22–23). [3]
 
1 John 4:9-11 states:
 
In this was manifested the love of God toward us because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
 
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
 
Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. [4]
 
In Matthew 22:36–39, a Pharisee, also being a lawyer, asked Jesus a question, tempting Him, and saying:
 
Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
 
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind,”
 
This is the first and great commandment.
 
And the second like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
 
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. [5]
 
Interesting. Love God with all thy heart, all thy soul, all thy mind, and love thy neighbor.
 
With all thy heart: to love God always, with intensity, in all things no matter your current situation and give credit to God. For you can do all things with God’s love. Have courage “for God is love.” [6]
 
With all thy soul: Sincerely love God. Be true to Him always. Do not break this trust. Always having a prayer with you, having faith and hope, knowing that Jesus took upon Him all our sins.
 
With all thy mind: Show God your love by studying the scriptures, listening to the prophets and apostles and ponder their messages, seek personal revelation from God, for anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, seek after these things. [7]
 
Thy neighbor: This is one that I have struggled with a lot, not because of the lack of love, but the fear of my own frailties. Caring for thy neighbor is a learned activity that helps us develop compassion for others. The new way of ministering helps us develop this very important Christlike attribute. Taking interest in others, showing kindness, a caring attitude, a want to help, talking with them, seeing them as God sees them, providing charitable acts of service in a way caring more for others than ourselves. This is especially true with family, friends, neighbors, our church family, co-workers, pretty much everyone.
 
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf in a General Conference talk, October 2009, stated the following:
 
Because love is the great commandment, it ought to be at the center of all and everything we do in our own family, in our Church callings, and in our livelihood. Love is the healing balm that repairs rifts in personal and family relationships. It is the bond that unites families, communities, and nations. Love is the power that initiates friendship, tolerance, civility, and respect. It is the source that overcomes divisiveness and hate. Love is the fire that warms our lives with unparalleled joy and divine hope. Love should be our walk and our talk. When we truly understand what it means to love as Jesus Christ loves us, the confusion clears and our priorities align. Our walk as disciples of Christ becomes more joyful. Our lives take on new meaning. Our relationship with our Heavenly Father becomes more profound. Obedience becomes a joy rather than a burden.
 
God the Eternal Father did not give that first great commandment because He needs us to love Him. His power and glory are not diminished should we disregard, deny, or even defile His name. His influence and dominion extend through time and space independent of our acceptance, approval, or admiration.
 
No, God does not need us to love Him. But oh, how we need to love God! [8]
 
What timely words especially for our time and day.
 
On September 11, 2001, we awoke eager for an exciting day! We were foster parents to two little girls, and over the course of a year four-year-old Olivia and five-year-old Amber had entwined themselves around our family’s hearts. We decided to go before a judge to adopt them. Our excitement turned to solemness when we sat horrified watching the Twin Towers collapse, with the loss of thousands of innocent lives, yet we were offering a new life to these innocent little girls. It brought joy to all that day.
 
Three days later, we travelled to the Salt Lake City Temple where our two precious little girls were sealed to us for time and all eternity. Later, as we stood looking at a statue of Christ, Amber placed her little hand on the statue’s hand. The thought came to me that, although wicked people do unspeakable things to the innocent, the sacred covenants and sealing power of God in His holy temples is more powerful than any evil force and will bind us together with His love as families forever.
 
Here we have a picture of the Christus statue, a replica of the one created by Bertel Thorvaldsen in 1833.
 
What do you notice?
 
Some may say He has long hair, He has a beard, He has a flowing robe, He has no shoes, He is muscular, He is glorious—yes, all could be true. Though we don’t know what Christ really looks like, what a wonderful artistic rendition it is.
 
But look closer.
 
We see a statue representing Jesus with His arms open, showing the wounds in His chest, hands, and feet, in a pose indicating, “Come to me and know that I am God. Feel of these wounds that I have suffered and know that I love you, I died for you. Please, please come unto me.”
 
In the Book of Mormon when the Savior came to the Nephites, He said, “Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.” [9]
 
John 15:9, 12–13 states,
 
As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
 
This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you.
 
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. [10]
 
Love is the driving force behind all that Jesus Christ and our Father in Heaven have done for us. He loves you.
 
Have any of you felt like I did the first time I felt God’s love? It is a wonderful feeling. Let’s all strive to feel God’s love more in our lives.
 
Thank you for everyone who participated on the BYU-Idaho devotional discussion board as I posed two questions: How do you feel God’s love, His infinite love, and how can you show Christlike love?
 
Here are a couple of your comments:
 
“I feel God's love when I pray. When I've taken some time to prepare by reading the scriptures, then my heart seems to be more in tune, and as I pray the Spirit whispers that I am known and loved by my Heavenly Father.”
 
And, “I feel God's infinite love when I pause from the busyness of life and connect with Heaven. I intentionally ponder and allow myself to feel. I can show Christlike love by offering love and grace to others. I can show it by seeing them as He does and treating them as He treats me. I often think of how Jesus Christ would treat that person if He were here.”
 
President M. Russell Ballard said in his past October General conference address, “I assure each one of you that the Lord knows you, that He is aware of your concern and anguish, and that He loves you—intimately, personally, deeply, and forever.” [11]
 
We need to pray for this love, for the gift of charity, “the pure love of Christ,” and to have joy and happiness in service to others. These are worthy gifts for “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of Lights.” [12]
 
In closing, I give you two challenges. First, start with a smile. When we get up in the morning, smile and say, “I love you” and “Jesus loves me too.” Smile throughout your day. We are so beautiful when we smile.
 
Second, in the upcoming general conference, listen for or feel God’s love, then ponder how you can take it to heart and add to your own ability to love.
 
May we be blessed to know and feel “His infinite love.”
 
In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, amen.

Notes

[1] Matthew 18:1–5.

[2] Cristina B. Franco, “Be of Good Cheer,” BYUI devotional, Mar. 9, 2021.

[3] David A. Bednar, “Lehi’s Dream: Holding Fast to the Rod,” Ensign, Oct. 2011.

[4] 1 John 4:9–11.

[5] Matthew 22:36–40.

[6] 1 John 4:8.

[7] See Articles of Faith 1:13.

[8] Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Love of God,” Ensign, Nov. 2009.

[9] 3 Nephi 11:14.

[10] John 15:9, 12–13.

[11] M. Russell Ballard, “Watch Ye Therefore, and Pray Always,” Ensign, Nov. 2020.

[12] James 1:17.

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This Speech has been Translated by
Katherin Sandoval & Natalia del
Villar